Iran Is Crushing Freedom One Country at a Time

(New York Times) Thomas L. Friedman - From Beirut to Baghdad and all across Iran, Middle Easterners are demanding to be treated as citizens with rights, and not just members of a sect or tribe with passions to be manipulated. And they're clamoring for noncorrupt institutions and the rule of law, not just the arbitrary rule of militias, thugs or autocrats. For years, Sunni and Shiite party bosses and militia leaders have manipulated sectarian and tribal identities to cement themselves in power and make themselves the brokers for who get jobs and contracts. But there's been a stunning shift in the flow of politics in some of these countries from Sunnis versus Shiites to Sunnis and Shiites locking arms together against all their leaders. These movements are inspiring, but their chances of taking power remain remote, largely because their biggest opponent - the Islamic Republic of Iran - is ready to arrest and kill as many democracy demonstrators as needed to retain its grip on Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, not to mention at home. Iran's clerical regime has emerged as the biggest enemy of pluralistic democracy in the region today. There are plenty of Arab dictators keeping their own people down, but Iran is doing it at home and in three other countries at once.

2019-12-05 00:00:00

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